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POLK AUDIO: FRANK K. STERNS THE ERT INTERVIEW


14


‘Voice control will become the norm’


Polk Audio is making a lot of noise in the industry. With the support of one particular online tech giant, the features of Polk products speak for themselves… Literally! They are bringing automated voice control to the masses and speakers are becoming more ‘human’ than ever before. “This will take us further into a robotics-first world,” says Polk’s President, Frank K. Sterns.


P


olk Audio has been gaining significant traction in the UK. As one of the largest audio brands under the Sound United umbrella, it is one of the market-leading manufacturers of


sound bars, wireless speakers and other high- performance audio products in North America.


But since partnering with Amazon on an Alexa


built-in sound bar (the Command Bar) – the first company to launch this feature built-in – Polk is making more and more noise around the world. It is seeing strong, sustainable growth, up 38 per cent year-on-year, with thousands of positive reviews across its ranges. Polk recently introduced its React sound bar –


another project alongside Amazon – which takes the company further into the voice-controlled entertainment future. But only last month we saw the launch of the Reserve Series product line, consisting of nine models, including three floorstanding models, three centre channels, two bookshelf speakers and a wall- and speaker- mountable height module. While other voice-controlled products include


Here, the Polk React sound bar. Top: The new Reserve range


the MagniFi line-up, which has Chromecast features with Google Assist, the manufacturer’s relationship with Amazon continues to be extremely strong. Speaking exclusively with ERT for this


interview, Frank K. Sterns, President of Polk Audio and Definitive Technology, explains that


the pair came together naturally because of a shared vision for the future of entertainment. “We realised early on that voice-controllable


products would become pervasive in the market,” he says. “We’ve seen the market balloon in size over the past few years, with projections for abundant growth. “Automation already exists for a certain level


of consumer, but we are doing our best to continue to make it more available for everyone. Eventually, it will become the norm.” Mr Sterns adds that the depth of the


partnership is evidenced by Polk React, which has very deep integration with Amazon Voice Services – one of the most complete from a sound bar. Not only can you ask Alexa to control the bar itself but React is also one of the few soundbars with advanced Alexa functions like Multi-Room Music, Calling and Messaging. “We like to say that it’s the most “Alexa-y”


sound bar possible. If you pair it with other Alexa-enabled devices such as FireTV, you can ask it to play your favourite movie, TV show or song without touching your remote!”


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